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Qvidian RFP & Proposal Automation Review: "Good for proposal branding consistency; reporting clunky."
https://www.trustradius.com/proposalQvidian RFP & Proposal AutomationUnspecified8.237101
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November 27, 2012

Qvidian RFP & Proposal Automation Review: "Good for proposal branding consistency; reporting clunky."

Score 7 out of 101
Vetted Review
Review Source

Software Version
Version 9.0 SR3 (9.0.3000.0016)
Modules Used
Proposal Automation

Overall Satisfaction

  • Organizes content in a consistent structure. Allows for Mandatory Content and Optional Content within an overall document framework.
  • Maintains branding through Word templates/themes.
  • Allows for the mix of “boilerplate” content, while giving the ability to personalize based on “edit codes”, such as using organization name throughout a proposal, using specific examples or images based on a given vertical/industry etc.
  • A knowledge base/repository for question/answer pairs for RFP Allows “upload” of RFP questions and potentially “automatic” answering based on most popular answers given key words.
  • Integrates to Salesforce.com, though we have not taken advantage, so I’m unsure to what degree it integrates. I assume it will allow to pull in contact name, address, etc.
  • Until the latest release, the UI was getting “old”. The process of architecting a document seemed backwards (start with the specific content, then build an outline. It has since been fixed in newer versions.
  • Not compatible with all browsers, or not latest version of browsers.
  • Content still requires post-build editing for spacing around table of contents.
  • Some users struggle with setup of Internet Explorer, macros and/or template styles, etc.
  • Reporting is clunky.
  • Does not have ability to configure pricing quotes.
  • More consistent branding of proposals.
  • Decrease in amount of time to create a proposal, allows more time to customize executive summaries, etc.
  • Decrease in time even more pronounced with RFP responses, assuming answer pairs get updated often with product updates/feature enhancements.
  • Allows new employees to deliver a high quality proposal with minimal ramp time.
We will likely abandon the proposal portion of the software if I feel our CPQ (Configuration Pricing Quoting) system, BigMachines, can handling both pricing and proposal content output.

Will need to re-evaluate if we retain the RFP portion from Qvidian/Sant.
It is really important to establish internal policies. The biggest end-user complaints are more around the freshness of the content, or length of the overall proposal than the tool itself.

Ask yourself “Is Proposal Content part of new product release checklist”? For your RFP Process, should you answer all RFPs? Have you defined a criteria?

Consider using the hosted version versus installed. It allows for a better support experience as they could access your content structure immediately. Integrating with your CRM will increase efficiency and stickiness.

Product Usage

26 - Sales, Presales (Solutions Engineers).
3 - IT Support for installing and upgrading releases on internal server (4 hours per year)

2-3 Persons trained as System Admins to manage users and perform content updates, typically 1 admin per module

Content provided by Product Marketing and Services Teams – this is where the work is concentrated.
  • Delivering consistently branded Proactive Proposals.
  • Assistance in responding to RFPs: A Database of common “question and answer pairs” from typical RFPs received by the company.

Evaluation and Selection

No previous proposal automation software in use. We used to cut-and-paste content from other proposals, fact sheets, or created each proposal from scratch each time.
I was not part of the evaluation or negotiation team for this purchase. However, I recall that the methodology used by the founder of SANT as described in his books, played a role in the decision.

Implementation

Started with a content structure prescribed by Dr. Sant (the N.O.S.E. Structure) which allowed for an easier implementation. The building out of content, which is an internal task, took the most time. We lack regular review cycles of content.
  • Vendor implemented
  • Implemented in-house

Training

  • Online training
  • In-person training
  • Self-taught
Live instructor training is expensive, though we have had instructors come to our offices for a ‘refresher’ before. The refresher was more of a “let us fix that for you” than a training on how to do it ourselves.
Online training is limited in my opinion.
End user training is relatively easy for proactive proposals.

The RFP module requires online training at a minimum.

Administrators would require training to understand document structure and how to architect. How to setup and maintain different user profiles. How to integrate with CRM if applicable.

Support

Having an installed version (versus SAAS) means it is harder to re-create errors. We have had to “copy” our data before to send to support which takes time.

They could be better at offering a timeframe for solution.

On a positive note they seem to have very little turnover in support, so familiar voices on the phone who are eager to jump into a screen-share.

Follow up from support cases asking for feedback is consistent.

Usability

The shift they made in architecting documents from content to outline, is now reversed allowing outline creation first, then content which is more natural. But, due to the fact that we went through a migration of content to get to the new version, it feels less optimized than if we would have re-implemented.

End users having to configure settings more often than desired.

Reliability

We have the in-house installed software version of QVidian. Remote access can be challenging, but that's more of a hardware and VPN issue.
Remote or VPN employees seem to have somewhat slower access time. Server maintenance has improved performance.

Finding occasional recurring prompts to update settings in Microsoft (Explorer, Word, Excel, Powerpoint)

Integration

  • Salesforce.com
System (apparently) can integrate with Salesforce.com – we have not done so yet.
You can also take advantage of Crystal Reporting
Qvidian is the merger of Sant Corporation and Kadient Software

Vendor Relationship

Good vendor relationship. Account Managers responsible for ongoing relationship post-sales. Sales Account Executive comes in for new product considerations.
License fees, then yearly maintenance for in-house install. Would consider cloud based subscriptions if I were starting over.